How to Drive Travel Intent and Purchase with Content Marketing


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Today’s traveler isn’t looking to be “sold.” She’s looking for engaging, reliable online content to gather travel ideas and inspiration, sort out the options, and make travel purchase decisions. That means today’s travel marketer has to be there offering quality digital content on a consistent basis. With Google’s recent “Hummingbird” search algorithm update, fresh, original content is, more than ever, the key to attracting website traffic … and the quality of that material will drive engagement. This webcast explains the concept of content marketing for the travel marketer, and explores hands-on strategies, tips, guidelines and insights for driving awareness, engagement and purchase intent … using the power of travel content.

Speakers include:
Robert Patterson - MMGY
Scott Severson - DreamPlanGo
Joe Pulizzi - Content Marketing Institute

Published in: Marketing, Business, Technology
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  • First, I would like to thank Skift and DreamPlanGo for inviting me to participate in today’s webinar and also thank you for joining us.My name is Robert Patterson and I am the Vice President of Content and Social Strategy at MMGY GlobalAllow me to quickly introduce our agency in case you are not familiar with us and then I would like to share my thoughts on what content marketing means for the travel industry.
  • We have one mission at MMGY…to inspire people to go places.
  • MMGY is an integrated marketing firm that focuses exclusively on the needs of the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries.
  • At MMGY all of our initiatives are grounded by ourresearch.I am not going to bore you with statistics, but I will share a couple of top level insights from MMGY’s Portrait of American Travelers research study.There is a fundamental shift as consumer trust in traditional travel advertising is at an all time low and is no longer motivating your consumerPersonal connections and experiences areWe strongly believe brand storytelling addresses this shift and differentiates successful brands because…
  • Content is the essence of brand
  • However…Content marketing is not copywriting
  • Or having a blog
  • Content marketing is strategic storytelling
  • That leverages all channels
  • Since I have a limited amount of time to present to you today I would like to share with you three case studies focusing on owned, earned and curated content marketing campaigns we have executed recently.
  • OWNED CONTENT CAMPAIGNOBJECTIVE: Drive awareness and bookings for the new 747-8 flight from Chicago to Frankfort with new lie-flat business class seats through weeklong surprise and delight upgrades.CAMPAIGN:Consumers were engaged online and on-the-ground to receive upgrades included coffee, umbrellas, limo rides, private screening at AMC theaters, hotel & restaurant upgrade, front row seats at a Bears game & ultimately a flight upgrade to business class for two lucky travelers.The campaign paid off Lufthansa’s Nonstop You brand positioning, by showing how the brand focuses on personal care.The campaign also utilized the #UpgradeChicagohashtag and each day a new video of the previous day’s upgrades were shared on YouTube and social media.RESULTS:12.7M impressions, 15,700 YouTube video views, 5,900 Facebook Page Likes and hundreds of unique personal experiences with ChicagoansTAKEAWAY: Owned content campaigns offer you the most control of your messaging, but it is also the most expensive approach to content marketing.
  • EARNED CONTENT CAMPAIGNOBJECTIVE: Leverage consumer and media interest in Google Glass to promote The Beaches of Fort Myers & SanibelCAMPAIGN:Invited 5 influential Google Glass Explorers to visit The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel to participate in the Find Your Island Challenge and share their experiences #throughglass using the #FindYourIslandhashtagSimultaneously, a Facebook sweepstakes was launched inviting individuals to enter for a chance to win their own Google Glass experience including a 6-night vacation on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and a pair of Google Glass once they become commercially available.The entire campaign was video recorded, with video content posted leading up to the campaign, during the campaign and after the campaign.The campaign was integrated across all marketing channels including public relations, social media, digital media, email and website/mobile.RESULTS: The campaign generated 76M Impressions, 70% of which were delivered from earned media placements in print, online and broadcast.In addition to driving destination awareness the campaign received over 15,000 sweepstakes entries and over 22,000 Facebook LikesAs part of an overall integrated marketing plan, The Beaches of Fort Myers have experienced 8% increase in year over year bed tax collections.TAKEAWAY: It is possible to successfully align your travel brand with consumer interests outside of travel through content marketing.
  • CURRATED CONTENT CAMPAIGNOBJECTIVE:Drive awareness and inspiration to book a stay at a Marriott Resort in the Caribbean and Mexico by leveraging the popularity of travel bloggers Matt Long (LandLopers) and Rachelle Lucas (TheTravelBite) by inviting them to visit 8 Marriott Resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico.CAMPAIGN:The bloggers participated in activities at each destination and property that were selected by fans who voted on Facebook.The bloggers documented their experiences through their blogs and social media profiles using #PassportToParadisehashtag.Fans were encouraged to follow the blogger’s adventures and incentivized with a booking offer and through a Facebook sweepstakes that launched following the blogger’s trip.RESULTS:The campaign generated 23M Impressions1,000+ #PassportToParadise social media posts; Over 130 Instagram photos and nearly 20 evergreen blog postsFollowing their adventure, Matt and Rachelle hosted Marriott Resort’s #ParadiseChat which drove 8.1M Twitter impressions and became a trending topic on TwitterIn addition to inspiring travel, social media was the second leading sources of revenue generated through in 2013.TAKEAWAY:Influencer marketing is an effective tactic to curate content to tell your story if you select the right participants and clearly define your expectations.
  • Thank you for your timeIf you would like to connect with me please feel free to email me or follow me on Twitter
  • Thanks RAfettTo start off, I want to say thank you to Joe and Robert for participating in today’s webcast. Thanks to our friends at Skift for pulling this together, AND thanks to all of you for joining us today.My name is Scott Severson, and I am the President of DreamPlanGo. As a quick intro:I’ve been in online marketing since 1997 when I convinced my boss at the time that this whole internet thing may actually turn into something. I’ve been the president of ARAnet, the parent company of DreamPlanGo for 8 years. At ARAnet we have a few different channels that we operate in, but they all boil down to helping brands connect with consumers through content. At DreamPlanGo, our Mission is to inspire people to travel and discover the world around them. In case you’re not familiar with us, I’d like to briefly introduce you to DreamPlanGo, and then I’ll be sharing few content marketing tactics that you can use to drive awareness, engagement and intent.
  • DreamPlanGo is a division of ARAnet, we’ve been a leader in content marketing since 1996.In our work with Travel clients over the years we’ve observed that there is a huge void at the top of the marketing funnel. All the focus is on the bottom of the funnel - at the point of transaction. If you’re a traveler who knows where you want to go, it’s a good thing. There are all kinds of great resources to help you plan your trip, find the best deal, and book it. But what if you don’t know where you want to go? Where do you start? For Travel marketers this creates a problem. According to Google, 58% of leisure travel planning begins with search. That’s great if people are searching for you, but how do you find the people that aren’t searching for you? How do you effectively get new people into your funnel so you can share your story, build awareness and attract visitors and bookings? We created DreamPlanGo to fill this void in Travel Marketing and connect destinations to travel enthusiasts in a way that is efficient, effective and measurable.
  • Our message and approach are resonating, with both our audience and our clients. DMO’s, Resorts, Airlines, Cruises, and Excursions have all used DreamPlanGo to connect with new travelersAs for our audience, our web site and email audiences are quickly growing. And our social audience has exploded to make us a top ten travel publication on Facebook.So that’s a little about us, next I’d like to share a few tactics
  • So we’re here to talk about using content to fuel your Travel marketing, the question is why? To me it comes down to efficiency and control. Most top of the funnel strategies are just not that efficient or accountable. Take banner ads, apparently today we’re more likely to scale Mount Everest than we are to click on a banner ad. That’s not very efficient, and it’s a far cry from the 44% click rate that ATT received on the very first banner ad.From a control standpoint, brands are realizing every day that focusing the bottom of the funnel only gets them so far, AND they can’t rely on ad networks or the OTA’s to effectively find new customers. They need to become a publisher to tell their story and actively grow their own audience. I’d like to share a few tactics that can help you do that.
  • The first tactic that I’d like to discuss is paid media. Relying on “Build it and they will come”, doesn’t work with travel marketing, and it isn’t a good content marketing tactic either. If you’re solely focusing on the content, and not how are you going to get it viewed, you’re missing an important piece of the puzzle. We have a solution for that.
  • Content Marketing typically refers to owned media channels, and owned media infers audience. But back to our original problem, even if you already have a substantial audience, how do you effectively find new travelers - if they don’t know about you? For many of you, the most effective way to add new travelers to your funnel is through paid media. Joe would call this “renting an audience”
  • Here’s an example of a paid content campaign for the Outer Banks of North Carolina, that we did for Robert and MMGY Our strategy centered around telling the Outer Banks story through original content, photos and videoThe goal of the campaign was to introduce the Outer Banks to new travelers, educate them about all the things they can do there, and entice them to click through to the high impact areas on the Outer Banks web site. As a primary component of the campaign, we created a custom destination showcase page that provided more than 30 ways for our audience to engage with the Outer BanksWhat you’re seeing on the screen demonstrates how we connect our audience, with the focused experience of the showcase page and ultimately drive engagement, subscription and conversion on the client site
  • So how did we do? Overall, we generated significant engagement between our audience and the Outer Banks. And we exceeded their lead generation goalsOne of the most interesting things about our approach to me is the concept of discovery. Every day our audience is exposed to new destinations, and every day we hear about how we’ve influenced their travel plans. That’s really cool. When used effectively, Paid Media has the ability to drive strong engagement,achieve multiple KPI’s and place new travel intenders into your purchase funnel so you can nurture that relationship through continued content marketing
  • The next tactic I’d like to talk about is to leverage photosWhen it comes to content marketing, the travel industry has a huge advantage over everyone else. When we think about a vacation, we think in pictures and images It’s really powerful when you can get someone to see themselves on your beach, in your hotel or on your cruise shipFor many travelers, this is the first step on their journey to becoming your customerI’m amazed at how many travel marketers miss this, and don’t put a lot of time or attention into photos they use on there site or share sociallyI have a couple of tips for making better use of photos in your content marketing
  • My first tip is to Curate Inspirational Photos of your Destination and share them sociallyI talk to a lot of travel marketers and for many, inspirational photo usage is their killer tactic for both engaging their current audience and building new audience.Great photos engage people and compel them to actionTravelers are more inclined interact with images so make sure your photos are ShareableIf you’re not evoking an emotion, you won’t see shares – Think in terms of awe-inspiring, beautiful, decadent, funny and exciting, when curating your photos.What you’re seeing the screen are a few examples from our clients. I think they all meet the test of evoking emotion and they all generated a lot of engagement and shares
  • My second tip is to let users submit photosThere’s a lot of ways that you can approach this and I have a couple of quick tips around user submitted photos The first is to run a photo contest to create both engagement AND build your photo library - National Geographic does an amazing job of thisPlus, Facebook seems to loves photo contests and every vote will contribute to thevirility of your campaign
  • Another variation on the contest theme is the Selfie: 2013 was apparently the year of the selfie. So take advantage of the trend and encourage people to use your tag when snapping their travel selfies. Here’s an example from Malaysia Airlines. They are running a selfie contest along this theme right now. Called “Snap Selfie – Take Bestie” to win a free trip
  • Another photo tactic is to ask for thematic submissions around your landmarks, festivals and events. It’s a fantastic way to drive shares, likes and repeat visits. Here’s an example from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Don’t forget, that any time you’re getting user submitted photos, make permission to use them an implicit part of the submission processThere are tons of tactics around photos, the key to remember here is to make them a priority. Amazing photos can create the desire to take the first step in the customer journey
  • Finally, everything we’ve talked about brings us your website. Beyond having a nice design, our client, Visit Central Florida’s web site does two things really well. First, they have great content on their site that is really useful to me as a potential visitor, and it’s updated frequently so I have a reason to come back.From a content strategy perspective, they’re following best practices: - They plan their content development using a 12-month editorial calendar, but they maintain flexibility to take advantage of new content opportunities as they crop up throughout the year- The are also very efficient in their content creation. For Visit Central Florida, the feature article serves as the content “hub” and the basis for repurposing Content in their EnewsletterBlog PostsSocial Media Postsand even in their Print distributionSecond, if you look at their right rail, it’s clear that they’re not going to count on me to come back, they want me to subscribe to their content - and they’re giving me multiple ways to do that right in the hot zone of their site. So well done Visit Central Florida, your website content coupled with the fact that it was 18 below zero here in Minnesota yesterday have enticed me to visit you next month.
  • So that’s it, to quickly recap, Focus on the top of your funnel. Many marketers focus primarily on the point of transaction at on the bottom of their funnel, and this can lead to commoditizationToday’s marketing is all about using a mix of paid, earned, shared AND owned media to create interest and nurture people through your funnelPhotos can be your secret weapon, use them wiselyYour website is the hub of all of these strategies, at bare minimum your site has to have useful content that’s frequently updated and ways for users to subscribe to your content
  • And let’s start by discussing how we help buyers make better purchasing decisions. Because before we can truly understand what we do for vendors like you, it’s critical to understand what we do for the buyer community.
  • How to Drive Travel Intent and Purchase with Content Marketing

    1. 1. How to Drive Travel Intent and Purchase with Content Marketing PRESENTED BY
    2. 2. Welcome and Introduction Rafat Ali CEO / Founder Skift PRESENTED BY
    8. 8. OR HAVING A BLOG
    13. 13. Fueling the Customer Journey with Content Marketing Scott Severson President DreamPlanGo Twitter: @scottseverson Phone: 866-833-8791
    14. 14. DreamPlanGo Engages travelers through content and inspires them to discover and visit new places
    15. 15. Our message is resonating with clients and travelers
    16. 16. “You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad.” (Solve Media)
    17. 17. Tactic: Paid Media “Today, in the divide between content creation and content distribution, it is distribution/amplification that commands 70%-80% of the budget. This is not surprising, really, branded content may be great, but if it doesn’t reach an audience, it is merely wasted resources.” (MediaPost)
    18. 18. Tactic: Paid Media
    19. 19. Paid Media Case Study: Outer Banks, North Carolina Destination Showcase Page Social Media DPG Site DPG Travel Newsletter DPG Media Network Geo Targeting + Contextual Targeting + Self-Selection Outer Banks Website
    20. 20. Campaign Results/Outcomes 13,500 Targeted People Engaged with Outer Banks Content on DreamPlanGo for 2.23 minutes Video Plays: 2,261 Total Social Engagements and Actions: 61,363 Overall Photos Viewed: 5,385 Cost Per Lead Using Content: Exceeded CPL Goal by 226% Clicks: 2,135 (to client’s lead generation landing page) Photos Viewed: 5,385
    21. 21. Tactic: Leverage Photos
    22. 22. Tactic: Curate Inspirational Photos
    23. 23. Tactic: User Submitted Photos
    24. 24. Tactic: User Submitted Photos
    25. 25. Tactic: User Submitted Photos
    26. 26. Tactic: Owned Media –
    27. 27. Key Takeaways • To increase your bottom line - Focus on the top of your funnel • Use a combination of paid, earned, shared and owned media to add new people to your funnel • Leverage photos to create inspiration and engagement • Ensure your owned media offers useful content and is designed for subscription
    28. 28. Thank You! Scott Severson President DreamPlanGo Twitter: @scottseverson Phone: 866-833-8791
    29. 29. CONTENT MARKETING RESEARCH AND TRENDS Joe Pulizzi Founder Content Marketing Institute
    30. 30. HOMEWORK The Most Famous Content Marketing Strategy In the World!
    31. 31. 38
    32. 32. Show Me the Research!
    33. 33.
    34. 34. Just 4 in 10 marketers believe their content marketing is effective
    35. 35.
    36. 36. Biggest Challenge: Producing Enough Content
    37. 37. Find Your Why
    38. 38. Why?
    39. 39. Welcome to, the place Why? business where entrepreneurs and owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.
    40. 40. Welcome to, the place Why? business where entrepreneurs and owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses. 1. 2. 3. Core Target Audience What Will Be Delivered The Outcome for the Audience
    41. 41. THANK YOU! Joe Pulizzi • @JoePulizzi on Twitter
    42. 42. Questions, Answers and Discussion PRESENTED BY
    43. 43. Closing Remarks Rafat Ali CEO / Founder Skift PRESENTED BY